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Making Festival Pawfect

Everybody looks forward to festivals… lot of delicacies, decorations at house, spending time with loved ones, and fireworks… time seems perfect. But, it can be the most dreaded time for our pets – loud noises, crackers, too much sweets… it’s simply not a dog’s life. Here’s how to make festival a fun time for our tailwagger as well.

My darling pooch Jimmy and I always look forward to festivals, as this is the time for a family reunion and

Sonakshi, Archana and Jimmy

Sonakshi, Archana and Jimmy

loads of goodies. Jimmy’s joys know no bounds and he simply jumps up and down the house, pausing for a pat on his back from one and all. Things that he dislikes at this time are the crackers and loud noises. But, the frenzy gets over by some loving petting and cajoling from the family. He’s a part of us and we don’t let him suffer alone…we are there to hold his paw and give him a loving nudge every time he feels afraid. And undoubtedly, our bonding becomes stronger year after year, festival after festival.

This time, while I was making my list for do’s and don’ts this Diwali, I thought it worthwhile to ask Jimmy for his wishlist and here’s what he has to say :

Jimmy’s wishlist :

  • I wish people to celebrate festivals without loud noises and crackers. 
  • I wish my parents shut down that idiot box (TV) and spend that time with me playing. During festivals, they just forget to watch it and I really like them this way. 
  • I wish I also had a wardrobe full of pretty dresses, one for each occasion. I also wish to sport the couture look! 
  • I wish I could meet my friends who keep calling me with a soulful look at our gate. 
  • I wish all my stray friends also get a loving happy home like me. They are wonderful pooches and they simply deserve the best. 
  • I wish people do not hurt or frighten my pariah friends. 
  • I wish there were more places where I could go with my parents. 
  • I wish there were loads of holiday destinations where we could go together and have a pawfect time. 
  • I wish there were more parks where I and my friends were allowed. 
  • And not to forget, I wish I got more of my favourite dishes and treats.

As a pet parent, here’s my wishlist for this festive season :

  • I wish Jimmy takes care of what he is sniffing around. I don’t understand how he finds the things which I least want him to sniff. 
  • I wish I could understand his ‘woof woof’ and actually talk to him for hours on end. After all, he is my best buddy! 
  • I wish I could spend more quality time with him – groom him, walk with him, play with him – all that is good for him. 
  • I wish all pooches are blessed with a loving home and there are no homeless strays. 
  • Last but not the least, I wish Jimmy has a long and healthy life, celebrating festivals together, year after year. Now, that our wishlists are complete, let’s all make this Diwali a memorable time for our cutie-pies.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts at festival time :

  • Do not give puppies as gifts as festival is not the right time to bring a new member in the family who can become nervous on seeing lots of activities. 
  • If you have guests at home, make a quiet place for your pet where he can retire at his own will. 
  • Do not feed sweets and chocolates as treats to your canine friend as it can upset his stomach. 
  • Do not leave any burning candles and diyas unattended, as your pooch might get hurt. 
  • Keep all electrical wires away from his paws’ reach. 
  • Use decorations, which are safe both for you and your dog. For example, use fresh flowers for rangoli instead of colours. 
  • Do not let your pooch sniff or eat crackers. 
  • Pets are afraid of fireworks, so keep them indoors. 
  • Noisy crackers can make your pooch hysteric, so put him in a quiet place and turn on the TV or radio to distract him. 
  • Do not leave him unattended if he is frightened. 
  • Make sure that he does not run away from fear. As a precautionary measure, put an identification tag on his collar. 
  • Amidst all activities, take time out for your loving pooch. Don’t miss his daily walks and playtime. 
  • Give lots of love and comfort to your tailwagger to help him overcome his fear and anxiety.

– by Varsha Verma

 


Do as mamma does!

Just imagine the solace one can feel, if our pretty pooches accompany us to our yoga classes. Well! Japanese people already know about it and “Dog Yoga” lessons are being organised by Japan Dog Yoga Association at Nippon Ayurveda School in Tokyo. Aimed at improving health and bonding between owner and dog through yoga, it has become the much soughtafter activity. Just try to make your canine a part of your yoga activity and see both of you gaining good health, besides spending quality time with each other.

Tips for a safe festival for your four-legged friend

Festive season is now so near and Diwali is just round the corner. As a guardian you should not forget the needs of your companion who takes care of you so well. Oh yes, I am talking about the dear member of your family- your dog! Festivals bring in a lot of joy and celebration. In the midst of all these pomp and show, we sometimes forget about the safety of our canine friends, which becomes all the more important during this time.

As you are aware, dogs hear so well. They can differentiate between the noises of engines of two cars of same make and prick their ears when their master’s car arrives – a feat impossible for most of us. They can hear about 40 times better than us.

So now we know, our canine friends can hear the noises or sounds beyond our capacity and have a very wide spectrum of hearing. They can be greatly startled by the noise of crackers burnt long distance away. We all should behave responsibly and avoid the noisy crackers completely.

Festival fears

What disturbs our pets mostly is the loud music. As common sense prevails what troubles humans is hell for pets. There are loudspeakers everywhere during festive season, which contribute to the heavy sound pollution. These are the circumstances that need to be controlled. I have seen cases of dogs hiding as noise levels become higher and that is very traumatic for them. Dogs tend to stay away from their homes when frightened, hence, it becomes important to ensure they are safe and secure.

Some dogs can get very nervous and try to chew on things or bite people or even their owners on the slightest provocation during such times. I have also encountered cases of dogs attacking live crackers trying to take them in their mouth, biting the crackers and getting burnt in the process. Always remember that crackers can cause fear, aggression or mental depression in dogs, so keep your pet monitored at all times.

I even came across a case where a puppy chewed on the ornaments kept in front of deity during worship and ‘ate’ them. The guardians of the dogs could not understand where the ornaments disappeared until I suggested having the puppy X-rayed. So be careful on this issue as well.

Feeding during festivals

Other important precautions during festive season would be regarding feeding of dogs:

  • Do not give sweets or fried, spicy foodstuff to dogs as it can upset their stomach.
  • Do not shift from normal feeding practices.
  • Do not keep sweets in the box open as your lil’ one can eat the whole lot and get sick.

Various treatments advised:

Homoeopathic :

  • Phosphorus?: Use when the dog is easily startled by noise and leaps suddenly when you drop something.
  • Borax?: Use when the dog startles greatly even if the noise is a long distance away.
  • Aconite?: Main fear remedy. Use when responses are rapid and violent. Use doses in low potency- 3x, 6x, 3c, or 6c.

Ayurvedic: Mentat syrup (Himalaya drugs) or Anxocare syrup (veterinary formulation) 1tspfull three times a day or a tab each of medicines mentioned above is recommended as a behaviour modifier, anxiolytic and mood elevator.

Allopathic: These are very potent and should be used under a veterinarian’s guidance only. (Dr. Vinay S. Gorhe, MVSc (medicine), is educated at Bombay Veterinary College. He is a university gold medallist and has worked as an officer-in-charge of Peshwe Zoo of Pune city. He runs a full time clinic for companion animals in Kothrud, Pune. He has visited many countries in connection with wildlife medicine and companion animal medicine over the last 20 years. He can be contacted at Ph: 020 – 25411216, 09822015318, e-mail: vinaygorhe@hotmail.com)